Live Stream Launch of NASA' TESS Planet Hunter Today

18 April, 2018, 03:32 | Author: Rosalie Gross
  • TESS Launch Postponed For Tomorrow Due To Falcon 9 Issue

In its first year of operation, the telescope will observe the sky of the southern hemisphere, while in the second year of the northern hemisphere, to cover more than 85% of the sky, the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency transmits.

George Ricker, TESS principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said: 'TESS is equipped with four very sensitive cameras that will be able to monitor almost the entire sky.

That is still too far away for humans to visit, but George Ricker, the Tess principal investigator from MIT, seems confident that technologies will emerge this century to allow robotic probes to reach some of his satellite's discoveries in a reasonable timeframe.

But even before today's launch could happen, SpaceX's upgraded, full-thrust variant Falcon booster had to meet all of NASA's requirements.

According to a report by Space.com, NASA's current exoplanet hunting observatory named Kepler, has nearly exhausted its fuel supply, requiring NASA to put TESS into orbit to continue research.

It will hopefully happen just in time; NASA's Kepler spacecraft, which has been searching for exoplanets for the last nine years is running on fumes, and it's expected to run out in the next few months, Nadia Drake reports for National Geographic. That will enable it to have a long-term mission beyond its two-year objective.

Unlike Kepler however, Tess will be able to search an area 400 times larger.

"This is the reason we're all so excited", said Jessie Christiansen, an astronomer at Caltech and NASA's Exoplanet Science Institute who sits on the steering committee for TESS's follow-up working group. TESS, which is the successor to the wildly effective Kepler Space Telescope, will help researchers spot thousands of new exoplanet candidates, including hundreds of Earth-like planets located around bright stars in our solar neighborhood.

TESS will use the same transit method Kepler used to find planets.

During this time, TESS will study and document 200,000 of the brightest stars near the sun to search for any transiting exoplanets.

Once the planets are identified, the world's astronomers can adjust all of their equipment - including the long-delayed James Webb Space Telescope - and analyse the planets in great detail to determine whether they could harbour life.

Kepler was created to do its work in the most boring way possible: by staring unblinking at a single ten-degree by ten-degree square in the 360-degree bowl of the sky, looking for the tiny dimming of light that occurs when an orbiting planet passes in front of its star. More than 3,700 exoplanets have been confirmed to date using a variety of techniques. "We're on this scenic tour of the whole sky, and in some ways we have no idea what we will see". It will collect about 27 gigabytes - or 6,500 song files - per day and send data back every two weeks. It's like we're making a treasure map: Here are all these cool things.

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